20 Must-Have Digital Teaching Tools For Parents

apps for parentsParents have it tough. They’re tasked with ensuring their children have the best nutrition, experiences, and education. There’s basically a library of apps that can help you out with all three.

Edudemic is all about education though so let’s start there. A new resource from our content partners at Best Colleges Online has a bunch of useful apps that are highly recommended for any parent looking to grab hold of some useful digital teaching tools. From BrainPOP to ABC PocketPhonics, there’s something in this list that will likely help you connect with your children and students just a little bit better. After all, isn’t that what apps are all about?

  1. Shake-a-Phrase

    From Artgig Studios, this $1.99 app for the iPhone and iPad makes language learning fun. Using the Story Starter function, you can begin to compose an amusing tale. Then, each time you shake the device, it produces a new wacky sentence, scrambling the words at random, not unlike Mad Libs. One of the sample sentences given: “The fanciful sailor yelled at and saved the chilly witch.” When you see a word you don’t recognize, you can tap that word and get a definition. There’s also a quiz mode.

  2. abc PocketPhonics

    This app teaches kids to sound out and combine letters, and even includes a handwriting tool so they can trace letters with their fingers. It’s available for $2.99 in the App Store.

  3. Jungle Time

    Jungle Time, available for the iPad and iPhone, aims to teach young children how to tell time. Its appealing graphics (different cartoon animal faces appear as the “face” of the clock) is sure to amuse.

  4. BrainPOP Featured Movie

    Every day, a different short educational animated movie is showcased by the edutainment specialists at BrainPOP, which was created by Avraham Kadar, M.D., an immunologist and pediatrician. BrainPOP has a huge stash of resources in the categories of Science, Social Studies, English, Math, Engineering & Tech, Health, and Arts & Music, plus extra features such as, currently, a spotlight on the election.

  5. The Elements: A Visual Exploration

    This super-cool iPad app is an interactive periodic table that lets you explore the world of chemistry and examine specimens of each element up close (even in 3D … though it’s BYOG, bring your own glasses)! It’s also available for the iPhone, though the big screen adds a lot.

  6. Intro to Math

    The visual elegance of this app from Montessorium led to it being featured in an Apple ad. Its interactive modules teach basic counting skills. Montessorium also offers other apps, all informed, of course, by the Montessori teaching philosophy, such as Intro to Letters, Intro to Geography, and the newly revamped Alpha Writer.

  7. Britannica Kids: Dinosaurs

    Though Encyclopedia Britannica has had a hard couple of decades, getting pummeled first by Encarta CD-ROMs and then by Wikipedia, and finally announced this year they would cease publishing a paper edition, they still exist as an electronic concern, and have begun creating educational apps rich with the kind of detail you’d expect. Besides Dinosaurs, they offer immersive educational experiences in U.S. Presidents, Snakes, Knights and Castles, Aztec Empire, Ancient Rome, Rainforests, Solar System, Ancient Egypt, and Volcanoes.

  8. Word Whiz Electronic Flashcard

    This $16.99 toy tests and improves children’s word-building skills with three levels of difficulty. The goal is to build as many three-, four-, or five-letter words as possible within a minute. Perfect for kindergarteners who are enamored of gadgets and learning to wield words.

  9. Kids Money

    A free app from AppsRocket, this tool is meant to help young children begin to understand the value of money and the idea of budgeting. They can use it to track their allowance savings until they reach a target amount to buy the treat of their choosing.

  10. DragonBox

    Available for iPhone, iPod Touch Mac, iPad, and Android, this virtual card game does something brilliant: it begins to teach kids algebra without their knowing it. Better yet, it’s actually fun: you move through five “worlds” with 20 levels each, and as you solve equations, dragons hatch and grow. In Norway, where it was produced, it quickly became the #1 most downloaded app.

  11. ALPHIE

    ALPHIE is a (rather adorable) toy robot designed to teach preschoolers letters, numbers, words, shapes, and more. He comes with 30 double-sided cards that you can insert into his torso to engage him on these assorted subjects, whereupon he talks, quizzes you, and even plays music.

  12. My Smart Hands

    This $4.99 app is a sign language dictionary designed to help you teach signing to your baby. Whether you or your child is hearing impaired or not, this could be a great educational opportunity for one or both of you.

  13. Mindflex

    Not an educational tool per se, this toy nonetheless may spark an interest in neuroscience and even teaches children to manipulate their own mental states. It’s a ball game you play by means of biofeedback, using your brainwaves to levitate a ball through a series of obstacles.

  14. Touch Physics

    In this 50-level game, free to download at the App Store, players attempt to move a purple wheel past obstacles to a yellow star, using a magic crayon (like Harold of children’s-book fame). It models the real laws of physics and can be quite challenging in a way that’s bound to prove especially addictive for kids.

  15. Bookworm

    Link letter blocks to form words in this $2.99 iPhone game from PopCap (also available for MAC, PC, and Nintendo DS). Bookworm is a good vocabulary builder for kids and a great diversion for adults.

  16. Magic Piano

    This piano game is a great way to get kids interested in learning to play the real thing. Though the interface is more like Dance Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero than the traditional ebony and ivory, it does allow your fingers to form real chords.

  17. Park Math

    This jaunty math game won a 2011 Silver Award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation, the 2010 Best Kids’ iPhone/iPod App of the Year Award from iLounge, and a Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award for Excellence in Design. It features 7 mini-games where, for example, you learn greater than/less than by balancing a seesaw, or learn subtraction as apples fall from a tree.

  18. Grover’s Number Special

    Big Bird lives! IDEO Toy Lab has partnered with Sesame Street to produce a line of fun apps featuring original video of everybody’s favorite educational Muppets. In this one, you help Grover, who’s moonlighting as a waiter, to count and add up ingredients to serve an angry customer, since the chef hasn’t shown up for work.

  19. SmartGlobe

    This interactive globe has content for ages 5+, 8+, and 15+, and has an attached SmartPen so you can point at spots on the globe and hear informative audio files. There are also six games, including multiplayer functionality so you can play along with your child.

  20. Stack the States

    Can you still name all 50 state capitals? This app by Dan Russell-Pinson is kind of like the Tetris of U.S. geography: you stack up states after correctly answering questions about them, which in turn unlocks three bonus games: Pile Up, Puzzler, and Capital Drop.

6 Comments

  1. k8jackson

    October 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I have always been a believer of the theory of evolution…That we evolve and we adapt to what the community wants and needs us to be. So my 2 cents here is we maximize learning via all of these apps and gadgets but make sure we don’t regress on the basics. It’s a nice technical world to live by, don’t you think so?

  2. Alberto Prieto

    October 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

    What do you think about “The Miracle of Life”? goo.gl/quVJq
    I would like to suggest this app about the human life cycle.
    I appreciate any feedback.

  3. Sentolo

    October 20, 2012 at 4:03 am

    Glad to see this post, I have many of these applications. I’m doing good buy!
    I have also “the Miracle of Life” that says Alberto and I liked it. An original way to present educational content.
    Congratulations to the development team.

    They have a lite version:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-miracle-of-life-lite/id557806598?l=en&mt=8

  4. Share

    October 21, 2012 at 8:04 am

    In case you want to see all the WORD Animals mentioned previously … here is the link.
    http://ziggityzoom.com/wordanimals

  5. Andre

    October 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Don’t waste your money on Montessori Intro To Math! Very basic, no reason to pay even a penny! Why they don’t have tryout version?? It’s obvious – no one will buy!

  6. miriam

    October 23, 2012 at 4:51 am

    There is a great website for apps, http://www.educationalappstore.com, which specialises in educational apps for young kids, parents, students and teachers. It is the one I always use when I want to find an educational app, and also the main store for my friends to buy good apps for their kids.